Way Out West

John Carter & Bobby Bradford
Self Determination Music
Flying Dutchman : 1970

JC, alto sax, flute; BB, trumpet, glockenspiel; Tom Williamson and Henry Franklin, bass; Bruz Freeman, drums.

As Josh Sinton made plain in his recent guest post on Ed Wilkerson, jazz has been, and remains, a music with regional differences. The world may be flat and all that, but unless you’re in the same room in the same city in the same time zone, it’s going to be difficult to create music that’s based on real-time interactions.  Though the free-flowing availability of music in the digital age has pasteurized some of the more pronounced geographic soundprints, some things still can’t be accomplished in the cloud.

Jazz has also been affected by regional bias. How else to explain the ongoing lack of attention for one of the all time great bands to emerge out of the West Coast? John Carter and Bobby Bradford may have been pigeonholed as Coleman/Cherry, Take Two, but the originality of this band is not to be denied. We happily offer up two fantastic tracks from the group’s second album for Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman label.

Their “Jazz Society Blues” (originally titled “Jazz Blues Society”; we’re going with the Comin’ On wording) is admittedly reminiscent of Ornette’s classic quartet: an intricate theme outlined by the horns; loose, speedy support by the rhythm section; creative soloing. “Loneliness” is where the group really make their mark. A spacious, downbeat tune that fully utilizes the two-bass attack, it conjures images of late-night rides down Fountain Ave, an intermittent warm breeze rippling through open windows, the wheels slicing through oil-slicked puddles. A distinctly Southern Californian evocation of the cool.

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